Monday, February 21, 2005
Power Grid Report
The latest cooperative publishing effort from 2F and Rio Grande Games, removes the crayon aspect from network building in the original edition while retaining the fluctuating commodities market like McMulti and an auction round intensity reminiscent of Princes of Florence. The object of the game is to supply the most cities with power when someone's network gains a predetermined size. In this new edition, players mark pre-existing routes between cities for connection, and then vie against other players to purchase the power plants that you use to supply the power. However, as plants are purchased, newer more efficient plants become available so you're effectively allowing others to access to superior equipment merely by purchasing at all. Additionally, players must acquire the raw materials, like coal, oil, garbage, or uranium, to power said plants (except for the highly valuable 'renewable energy' wind/solar plants), making it a constant struggle to upgrade your plants for maximum efficiency while still retaining enough wealth to quickly expand your network to get the cheapest routes.
I had read the rules on the train on the way home from work and Steve had read them as well, even so it took us a good 40 minutes to work our way through the rulebook. There were several ambiguities that took us some time to resolve. The rulebook suggested that if it was your first game that you only played the first step of the game. That is until a player had established his 7th city. Pooh, to that, we were going to play the whole shebang! Well, as it turned out the first full turn took 50 minutes. With quite a lot of questions and such. Er......perhaps we’d better revise that. To be fair the turns speeded up considerably after that, even so it was obvious that we weren’t going to finish the whole game by the end of the evening. So we decided on a time limit and scored at that time. Now I know that that will affect the bidding for power stations and various other things, so I think this first game was more of a learning game and next time the game will flow a lot quicker and get closer to the time on the box of 2 hours. Neil had arrived shortly after the 1st turn and took over the duties of managing the bank and the auctioning of the power stations. I thoroughly enjoyed our first look at Power Grid and can’t wait to play again. There are a lot of decisions to make and some maths are required to manage your cash. Bidding for Power Stations, buying fuel to power them and of course establishing cities and paying connection charges.
In some ways it is a bit like Age of Steam with replenished resources and connecting your power plants (stations) on the board, anyway that’s how I felt. And although I find Age of Steam a bit hard going, I liked this game a lot. We did actually get into Step 2 of the game, where you can have 2 players connecting to a city, and some evil blocking moves ensued (thanks Richard!). One other thing that you have to pay attention to is the turn order, this is determined thus, the leading player is the player with the most connected cities in his network (first house on the scoring track). If two or more players are tied for the lead, the leading player is the player with the bigger power plant (the power plant with the higher number). In the auction of power plants the leading player starts, on the buying resources and building phases it is in reverse turn order. This can make an enormous difference to your planning. So, quite an introduction to Power Grid, really looking forward to our next playing. In the pic you see the concentration needed to play this game, either that or the effluent from all those power stations is making an awful smell.
These are the final scores, I’m sure Garry will claim the win, but bear in mind we didn’t actually finish the whole game.
Colin 131/11, Garry 113/13, Richard 156/10, Steve 149/9
Game Rating (0-10)